Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Good Week in McKinney! 4.27.2015

Hello, hello!

Another good week in McKinney! First and foremost, Sister Weichers and I are staying together for another transfer! Party! Oh, we are so happy! What a blessing to get to serve in this wonderful area with this wonderful companion for another 6 weeks! 
Happy 10 months!
An update on BE! He is home from the hospital and is recovering well! He's going to be having a lot of free time due to his 6 month recovery, so we challenged him to start reading the Book of Mormon. He readily agreed, so we are excited about that! 

Wednesday we got this little black box in our car. It's called a Tiwi, and it tracks our driving and stuff. We lovingly call it Kevin. Anyway, we got to go to a meeting and get spiritually fed once again. I always love seeing Sister Taylor and my other missionary friends. 

I learned/was reminded that the Holy Ghost directs, instructs, and corrects. The Holy Ghost will give us little course corrections necessary to keep us on the covenant path. Heavenly Father expects us to take steps forward, but he won't let us go wrong. He'll always let us know and give us corrections or directions to keep us on track.

So I've been having this perfection complex on my mission. Like, I know that I'm doing good things, but I have so far to reach who I want to be. It can actually be a little debilitating at times, but I've rediscovered some really good scriptures this week that have really helped. And I did some "likening" with it as well. 
Ether 12:23-27
23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Texans will mock at these things, because of my weakness in [contacting, teaching, etc]; for Lord thou hast made me mighty in [testimony, conversion, etc] by faith, but thou hast not made me mighty in [contacting, etc]...
 24 And thou hast made me that I could [contact, teach, etc] but little,because of my awkwardness.Behold, thou hast not made me mighty in [contacting, teaching, etc] like unto the [amazing missionaries who I am comparing myself with],...
 25 ....Wherefore, when I [contact, teach, etc] I behold my weakness, and stumble because of the placing of my words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at my words.
 26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me,saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Loved it. I've learned a lot about trust. In Relief Society yesterday, someone said, Let it go, and let God. I really liked it. Someone also said, Don't let the small imperfections blur your vision from the progress that you're making. 

I'm so grateful that we have this time on earth to progress and become better. No, I'm not perfect, but I'm trying. And that's a good start. 

Good news! SU passed her baptismal interview and is all set to get baptized this Saturday! I'm so excited for that sweet girl! 

At church yesterday we got to teach Sunday School for the 16-18 yr olds in one ward, and Priests' quorum in the other ward. We got to teach the Restoration in both classes and I realized how grateful I am that I get to testify of the restoration every. single. day. It's the best. 

Bishop and Sister Hook selfie
One funny story: after a very scant dinner yesterday, we were both really hungry. We would normally just go to the store and buy food. But it was Sunday. So we called our Bishop's wife and she made chocolate chip waffles for us. BLESSINGS. Waffles are blessings.

We ended the week with a very sweet lesson. A family in our ward had some of their non-member friends visiting from out of state and they came to church with them. Sister Weichers and I were speaking in sacrament, so that was nice, and they came to Sunday school where we talked about the creation and God's love for us. Sunday evening, we went to their house, answered some questions, and showed the 20 minute Restoration. The Spirit was so strong. Then the members in our ward shared their testimonies of the Book of Mormon and the dad then invited their friends to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. The invitation was about a million times more powerful coming from the member to their friends! They agreed to do so. I am so grateful for wonderful members.

I love this gospel. I love this work. I love each of you!!

Sister Gilbert

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hey Y'all 4.20.15

I never know what to put in the subject line.

So we'll just go with that. :)

It's been a good week! We've worked hard and had fun, all the good things. :)

Last Monday we had some really good Family Home Evenings. The McKinney Stake President lives in one of our wards, so we had the opportunity to go to their home and teach the Stake President, his wife, and 10 year old son the Restoration. It was a really nice visit! I sure do love the members! 

Tuesday we had a good time at the Relief Society activity.They had a service auction where everyone brought an item or service. Then they had this fun little survey to award the "points" to bid with. Sister Weichers and I ended up bidding together and winning some adorable little texas blocks. 

Wednesday was crazy. Not only were we super busy, but we found out some crazy news. We were just finishing up at our service activity helping with the GED classes when we got a text from FL. She told us that BE had a heart attack. Luckily, he was at work (at the hospital) when it all happened, so he was able to just immediately go into surgery to get help! Our Bishop and one of his counselors were able to go down to Plano to the hospital and give him a blessing which he gladly received. He ended up having to have 6 bypasses. I think that FL receiving the blessing just a few days before really helped prepare him to be willing to get a blessing. Crazy. But he's doing well now. He's out of the ICU and is walking around. FL said he should be home on Wednesday. He'll be out of work for 6 months for the recovery. He's going to go crazy though not being able to work for that long!! Good news though is that they are still on track for marriage and baptism. I think it upped the ante a little bit. 

Friday we got to work at Trade Days again. It sure does make for some LONG days, but it's nice to just have so many people to talk to. So our dinner on Friday was great! Brother and Sister Clark are both artists, so Brother Clark drew caricatures of Sister Weichers and I! So fun. So if you ever wondered what I looked like in cartoon form, now you know!

Saturday we had a great new member lesson with AB again. She told us that she wants us to come live with her and be her big sisters! It was the sweetest thing. 

Saturday night the winds started a blowing. We were giving some supplies and stuff to the zone leaders and just chatting in a parking lot. The wind came in and the temperature dropped like 10 degrees and it started sprinkling. We knew a storm was coming, so we jumped in the car and drove home. By the time we got home about 7 minutes later it was a torrential storm! We were outside for about 20 seconds, just long enough to run inside and I was SOAKED!!!!! Hahaha. It was so great.

Sister Weichers and I were able to go into Young Women's yesterday and share our experience of deciding to serve a mission and how that is our path to eternal life. I hadn't shared the story and deciding to come on a mission for a long time, and I realized once again how involved the Spirit was in that decision and preparation. I am so grateful for this beautiful gospel. I know that I'll get to live with my family for eternity, and I am SO grateful for that. I know that power comes through living the gospel and from relying on the Atonement. 

I invite y'all to 1) have a beautiful week and 2) share your testimony with someone. I can promise that doing so will strengthen your testimony!

I love each and everyone of you!

Sister Gretchen Gilbert

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another week! 4.13.2015

Hello! It's been another full, crazy, busy week in McKinney, Texas (just the way I like it).

Monday started off with some delicious Thai food. Yum. Nothing beats a good Pad Thai.

Tuesday we finally got back in with an investigator we meet over a month ago. She was really receptive and kind to us, so we shall see how that all goes. We had a picnic dinner with one of our favorite families. Nothing beats a good picnic.

Then Tuesday night I got to go on an exchange with the lovely, Sister Aumua!! It was so much fun to be reunited with my trainer for a day! We were very nostalgic and just shared memories and stories from the good old days in Allen! :) We had a really good lesson with SU and she and her family were able to watch two sessions of conference, which we were really happy about! SU’s mom told us that as she watched she felt really strongly that she needs to read the Book of Mormon. She has questions about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and everything, so it was wonderful to hear that she received revelation to read! Also, good news! SU, her mom and her brother all came to church! Yes! I've loved seeing the change in that family over the past few months! It has been incredible! I love the their family dearly and pray that they will be able to continue and progress.

Wednesday night we got to help with the youth's activity. They were going out and taking surveys to some neighborhoods about family history! We ended up getting 13 referrals from it. I was so proud of the youth for getting out there and getting rejected and accepted. So good. The youth are amazing!

We found out that JE and CI watching all the sessions of conference!!! Boo yeah!!! I love when investigators choose the right and keep commitments!!

Sister Weichers and I had a really good heart-to-heart Friday night. I sure do love that woman!! We are truly enjoying every minute of our transfers together. :) LOVE.

Saturday was awesome! The zone leaders had a baptism and we got to give the presentation of the Restoration while she was changing. I love the message that we share!! it's so wonderful to testify of its truthfulness time and time again. We ended up getting in with 2 less-actives and 1 recent convert who we haven't been able to meet with yet and teach all of them! Oh it was so good. Miracles in McKinney!

We also got to teach sharing time in Primary. The lesson was, "Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ." Again, I love teaching and testifying of the first vision. It's such a wonderful, hopeful message!


So, remember BE? We committed him to baptism a couple of weeks ago?? WELL lo and behold his girlfriend said yes and they're getting married!! Which means that BE can get baptized!!! So we now have a date for him, July 11 - a week after they get married!! I'm so excited for them. #weddingplanning. FL was a little unsettled, but we had some brothers from the ward come give her a blessing. We were able to explain the priesthood more to BE and help him catch a further vision of who he can become! FL told us that during and after the blessing she really just could feel of God's love and comfort. Oh how I love these people!

WELL, have a good week! Remember that the Lord loves you, and that He knows you perfectly!


Sister Gilbert :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Be real, be genuine - 4.6.2015

Hello to all my beautiful people!

It's been another great week here in the TDM, especially up here in Mighty McKinney!

Here's some miracles and cool stories real quick for ya!

Monday we were early to our FHE so we were knocking the doors around their house. We knocked on a door and asked if we could share an Easter video. The lady said they were just sitting down to eat dinner, but to come back in an hour. So we did FHE then went back. We showed her the video and taught her the Restoration! She really liked it! We got a text from her later in the week telling us that she and her husband were no longer interested, but it really was just a great experience to have another tracting success.

After a good district meeting on Tuesday we went with Sister Stensrud to visit ST again. She wasn't doing very well, but we just chatted with her and prayed with her. I love that woman!! Even when she's having such a hard time, ST sure just knows how to make me feel good about herself. LOVE. Anyways, on Wednesday, Sister Weichers and I went back with Sis. Stensrud and cleaned her apartment!! I scrubbed her showers for about 2 hours (don't worry,they weren't that bad, I just am slow and thorough). I had a realization that it's so much easier to clean for someone you love!! It didn't feel like a chore, just another opportunity to express love for her! And then on Saturday between sessions of Conference, Sister Weichers and I "heart attacked" her door with scriptures!! Oh, how we love her.

We moved SU's baptismal date back to May 2, but she committed to come to church every week in April, AND she watched 2 sessions of general conference! SU told us that she's excited to get baptized and just needs to be a little more comfortable at church. I love that girl.

We've spent all week just going around trying to show people the Because He Lives video. Every time that I watch it, my testimony, love, and devotion for the Savior just deepens and grows. How I love Jesus Christ!! I truly know that He lives!

Thursday we had interviews and zone meeting with President Taylor and the Assistants! It was another wonderful meeting! We received a training on "transitions" so like how to have a normal conversation with people then direct the conversation to the gospel. I'm still really awkward at that, but we're practicing and it's getting better. We also received training on being real, being our selves, being genuine. The mission makes us grow. We become refined! We also got a really good training on "Correcting the drift and recalculating with minimums." We talked about how sometimes we've "drifted" away from the person we want to be or thought we were. But, if we use minimums we can recalculate. A minimum is the smallest meaningful unit of behavior that will make a difference  (change or close a gap) in our lives. I LOVED this training so much. It was definitely an answer to prayer.

Friday. We had another lesson with BE. (I think I've told you about it??? Maybe not. Anyways. His girlfriend, FL, is a member and her daughter were baptized last year. Well, BE's been investigating the church for a few years on and off. He's just a little stubborn and loves the Bible. (Nothing wrong with that). So on Friday, we just chatted for a while with them because we're friends, and BE is more receptive if we are ourselves. So we got into the lesson and taught using the pamphlet again. (Best tool ever.) Can I just say that that was the most spirit-led lesson I've ever taught?! We were given so many inspired questions, and BE really did most of the talking, just teaching himself the lesson. We helped him understand the priesthood authority and how it's been restored. And!?!?! Then we popped the question: If you come to know that this is true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding that priesthood authority? And he said yes!!! We don't have a specific date yet, but he said yes. And he agreed to say the prayer at the end of the lesson. It was a very spiritual, specific prayer asking to know if the Book of Mormon is true and thanking Heavenly Father for his many blessings. I love that man. I hope he continues to progress!!

We got to watch conference with JE and CI!! That was a big blessing! I love them. We had a blueberry muffin and orange juice party and had a grand old time.

Also, I fulfilled one of my life goals: Eating at Texas Roadhouse in Texas. Check.

I loved General Conference. I really enjoyed Elder Cook's thoughts about the sunflowers. "The Lord is my light and my salvation." Also, Elder Bednar's thoughts on faith. "Fear is dispelled through correct knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ.' Also, President Uchtdorf's thoughts on grace. "Grace refines us and helps us become our best self."

Well, I love y'all! Be Good!!

Sister Gretchen Julie Gilbert

Saturday, April 4, 2015

If You Believe In Heavenly Father, Raise Your Hand 3.30.2015

Wow!! It has been a week to remember, that's for sure! 

So, Brother Donaldson (the head of proselyting in the Missionary Department) and Brother Jarman (the director of MTC teachers) came and visited us!! They talked all about the Doctrine of Christ, how to make planning more effective, and last but not least, they trained us in this WONDERFUL way to teach the Restoration really powerfully! We use the pamphlets (ps check out the app LDS Pamphlets) and can teach it in about 7 minutes!!! So awesome!! It was seriously my favorite meeting that I've been to on my whole mission!! Plus I got to see a few of my missionary friends who I haven't seen in a while. I'm not entirely sure why  I got invited to that meeting, but I do know that it has rekindled the fire of missionary work in my, and that I have the tools to be an even more effective missionary!!! So awesome. It was kinda neat, because I had been taught some of the principles and applications at the MTC, but had forgotten them over the 9 months of being in the field. GOOD REMINDERS FOR SURE.

I'll just highlight some of my favorite things from the meeting: 
  • The way that we come to know Christ is through making and keeping covenants.
  • You can feel the Savior's love and Atonement before you are baptized, but you can't access the redeeming, enabling, exalting power of the Atonement until after baptism. It's like the Holy Ghost; we can feel the influence, but we are granted the GIFT after we have made covenants. 
  • My purpose as a missionary is to connect people to heaven.
  • The missionary lessons could be summarized into the following: Revelation, The Atonement, and the Way. (Restoration, Plan of Salvation, Gospel of Jesus Christ)
  • The more you understand the doctrine of Christ, the more it will change you and cause you to want to share it.
  • The people we meet and teach were all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Premortal-day Saints. Help them connect with Heaven, and they will remember. 
  • Also, the First Vision directly coincides with Lehi's family. Visions and truth, persecutions, a new book, obtaining a record of scripture, and leaving an old life for a better. So neat!

So following this amazing training on Thursday, we had an amazing experience on Saturday! We had a media referral for someone name JO asking for a bible. So we went to his house and gave him the Bible. We then asked him if we could share a message with him about how much God loves him and wants him to find truth and happiness in his life. We then taught him the Restoration using the pamphlet in about 10 minutes. We invited him to be baptized which he gladly accepted! We then committed him to May 9 and to come to church and read the Book of Mormon. All within about a 20 minute time frame. We arranged a ride for him coordinating through our ward council. We were texting him to confirm and he told us that he was so excited to come to church and be surrounded by more godly people. Well, he came to church yesterday! He enjoyed sacrament meeting and the ward was so welcoming to him! My testimony continues to be strengthened that the Lord truly prepares people! I have great love for JO! He texted us this morning and said, "By the way, I believe we have met before, I just don't know where, but maybe you can figure it out better than I can." I had the spirit witness to me that Sister Weichers and I did know JO before this life in the spirit world! What a tender experience!

Also, with the new initiative out for Easter, the #BecauseHeLives, we went out on Saturday morning before our set appointments. Within 15 minutes of being outside, we talked a guy named JE taught a few concepts, prayed, and set a return appointment. BOOM. New investigator! Wow, I'm telling you, the Lord is preparing his children!

The weather is beautiful here. On Saturday we went down to a big-o lake/pond thing to read The Book of Mormon with a less-active. It was such a tender mercy for me to be able to be outside for a little while and just enjoy the nice weather and the scriptures. 

My favorite quote from church yesterday: a little 5 year old bearing his testimony. "If you believe in Heavenly Father, raise your hand. Looks like all of you. Then you know it's good for your soul." Oh I died it was so cute. :)

My testimony echoes his though. I know that this gospel is good for our souls. It's actually essential. :) How grateful I am for it! I know God lives. I know He loves us. Because He Lives, I too can live.

Much love,
Sister Gretchen Gilbert